Photos by Monica Schwartz
“Dominique Ansel is one of the best pastry chefs I have ever known and I visit his patisserie in Soho often for my sugar fix. He is singlehandedly responsible for the half croissant, half doughnut ‘Cronut’ craze that has taken the world by storm. If you can’t get to NYC and wait in line for two hours for this pastry delight, here’s a quick cheat; not quite the same, but equally decadent.” – Chef Lee Anne Wong
Makes 4-6 pieces
1 roll refrigerated croissant dough
1 C. melted butter, unsalted
Local Hawaiian cane sugar, large granules
Vegetable oil for frying
1 pint Kula strawberries, washed, hulled, and thinly sliced
¼ C. Hawaiian cane sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
2 cans full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1 pc. Hawaiian vanilla bean, cut lengthwise, seeds scraped from each half
2-3 Tbs. local honey
Hawaiian sea salt, to taste
Toasted coconut for garnish
Working on a lightly oiled surface, unroll the croissant dough and gently shape into a long rectangle with a rolling pin, about 15”x8”. Rotate dough so the longer side is parallel to the edge of the table. Brush dough with a thin layer of melted butter and sprinkle lightly with cane sugar. Visually divide the dough into thirds. Fold in the left side. Brush the top of the folded section with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Repeat with the right side. The dough should be tightly folded in thirds now. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 min.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and gently roll out again to a 15”x8” rectangle. Repeat the process two more times, refrigerating the dough in-between and after the last folding.
While the dough is chilling, remove the cans of coconut milk from the fridge, flip and open upside down. Pour off the thin coconut milk into a container and reserve for future use. Scoop the coconut cream into a large mixing bowl. Using an electric or stand mixer, whip the coconut cream until thick and fluffy with medium peaks, about 4-6 minutes. Stir in half of the vanilla seeds, honey, and a pinch of salt. Refrigerate until needed.
Place the sliced strawberries in a bowl with the ¼ C. of sugar, lemon juice, and the remaining vanilla seeds. Stir until well combined. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the deep fry oil to 340°F. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll into a 6”x6” square. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 4 rounds. Cut out center holes with a ½-inch biscuit cutter. Deep fry the cronuts turning, about 2-3 minutes per side, until the dough is golden and evenly cooked. Drain on paper towels. Roll in cane sugar while still hot.
While the cronuts are still warm, whip the coconut cream back to medium peaks. Spoon onto plate and into each cronut hole. Top with the macerated strawberries and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Eat immediately and with gusto!